Chapter Seven Proving Performance and Measurement

One of the biggest challenges marketers face is rationalizing the high perceived cost of experiential marketing relative to other options they have for communicating their messages. For years, marketers relied on gut feelings, previous experience, or more qualitative satisfaction metrics for ROI assessments because more sophisticated measurement tools and methods either didn’t exist or produced results that were not projectable. Leads from events were often so unreliable that dealers didn’t want them; those from trade shows frequently never made it from marketing to the sales team for follow-up. Consumer survey information, when collected, sometimes wound up in a desk drawer.

To be fair, since the earliest days, most experiential marketers have tried to measure. They collected attendee data pre-event and followed up with post-event surveys. By the early 2000s, they were measuring lead quality and quantity, evaluating their marketing communications messages, calculating sales potential, and tracking media impressions. But as savvy as their instincts may have been, their tactics remained stuck in the Stone Age. Marketers tracked trade show traffic with a clicker at the entrance door. To determine attendance at summer activations, they counted parking spaces in concert venue parking lots. At street fairs, they estimated how many people could fit on a city block—or counted how many cars drove past a promotional vehicle in one minute—then ...

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